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'Gentrified' Dunlop made better witness, court told

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Businessman Jim Kennedy (third from left), his wife Antoinette (far right), son John and daughter Kathy arrive at the
Supreme Court yesterday for the opening day of hearings

Businessman Jim Kennedy (third from left), his wife Antoinette (far right), son John and daughter Kathy arrive at the Supreme Court yesterday for the opening day of hearings

Businessman Jim Kennedy (third from left), his wife Antoinette (far right), son John and daughter Kathy arrive at the Supreme Court yesterday for the opening day of hearings

THE State deliberately waited for lobbyist Frank Dunlop to be sentenced for bribery so that he could be made to "look better" as a witness in the corruption trial of businessman Jim Kennedy, the Supreme Court heard yesterday.

This tactic was effectively the "gentrification" of Mr Dunlop "to make him a better looking prospect in front of a jury", according to Martin Hayden, lawyer for Mr Kennedy.

He was speaking on the first day of an appeal by Mr Kennedy against a High Court decision, as he tries to stop his trial over alleged corrupt payments for land rezoning.

The charges are in connection with the attempted rezoning of land owned by Jackson Way Properties at Carrickmines, south Dublin, in 1992 and the successful rezoning of part of these lands in 1997.

Last July, High Court judge John Hedigan dismissed Mr Kennedy's challenge, and that of former FG councillor and senator Liam Cosgrave, who is also charged in connection with the same matter. Both deny the charges against them.

Mr Kennedy sought orders against the DPP aimed at preventing his trial, claiming his constitutional and European Convention rights to a fair trial had been breached.

Mr Kennedy, with an address at Queensway Quay, Gibraltar, is facing 16 charges of making corrupt payments to politicians relating to rezoning motions voted on by Dublin City Council and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council concerning the land in Carrickmines.

His lawyers claimed his trial should be prohibited partly because of an inexcusable delay before charges were brought.

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard the appeal was being brought on grounds including that the State was not entitled to wait to charge Mr Kennedy until witness Frank Dunlop -- who was sentenced to two years in prison in 2009 after pleading guilty to corruption -- had been "effectively gentrified" for the purposes of the Kennedy trial.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent